SUN Hockey Pool

Mikkelson earns Flaming C

STEVE MacFARLANE, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:43 PM ET

In the minutes after making his Calgary Flames debut, defenceman Brendan Mikkelson was asked to grade his performance.

“Letters or numbers?” asked the 23-year-old who was plucked from the Anaheim Ducks off waivers by the Flames this week.

“Letters,” the reporter replied.

After Friday’s 6-2 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets, it could easily have been skewed in his favour. But Mikkelson quickly provided an honest assessment of his first game in Flames silks.

“C,” he said. “There’s some things I can do better.

“But I think a lot of that is just the adjustment to a new team. I think that will come with time.”

Time will tell where the Regina-born, St. Albert-raised blueliner will fit in.

He replaced veteran Steve Staios Friday night and played sparingly, mostly alongside Cory Sarich.

As debuts go, it wasn’t especially memorable.

Mikkelson finished with a minus-one rating and one hit in 12:01 of ice time. He was deployed for about 14 seconds on the penalty kill.

But not being noticed on the back end is often a good thing.

No glaring errors.

No major missed assignments or miscues.

“I thought it was solid,” Flames head coach Brent Sutter said of the newcomer’s first game. “There’s still some things that he needs to adjust to with our system. I just mentioned to our coaches you can tell where he’s come from. If there is that stick-to-stick play in his own zone, he just gets pucks out. That’s what Anaheim is. Those are smart plays.

“I thought he was solid. I thought he was fine.”

Maybe not as dynamic as rookie T.J. Brodie, who was sent to the minors on the same day as the team acquired Mikkelson, the former first-round pick of the Ducks will be asked to play a more defensively sound game when he gets his opportunities in the lineup.

“I was trying to fit in best with the team as I could. I made some plays where I was thinking (about) the play I should make within the system rather than just be with the play. A couple of little things like that. But I felt better and better as the game went along,” Mikkelson said.

“I just want to keep it going and try to stay in the lineup.”

If he does, he’ll be making his Saddledome debut as early as Sunday against the San Jose Sharks.

With plenty of friends and family in the province, he’ll need a little time to get all the tickets he needs.

He’s not sure of the number he’d hit.

“I don’t know,” he said with a laugh. “They’re gonna be paying for them, though, COD. I’m on a two-way

contract.”

steve.macfarlane@sunmedia.ca

twitter.com/MacfarlaneSteve


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